Just attended a very interesting Cognito breakfast byte session – featuring Misys, Incisive Media and of course Cognito.
As with all good panels, the discussion polarised around two viewpoints – Incisive ‘pitching’ how incredible it’s owned Media channels are in terms of journalistic content and targeted reach, and Misys taking the part of the large Enterprise who are building their own marketing programs and hubs to connect and grow their audience of product/service advocates.
Of course the friction revolved around the ‘Enterprise’ having to pay to use the ‘Media’ channels rather than build their own, and the ‘Media’ channels trying to protect the source of their revenues and convince the enterprises of working with them. My own background in B2B marketing and building social communities makes me empathise with the former view, but in some ways it is a losing battle. The big Media firms are always going to have a wider audience, seem more independent, and have more resources to be able to write and curate content.
Cognito brought out a version of the old adage ‘Content is King’, and the discussion moved to twitter and how many people use it now as their personalised News feed (there was also a comment from the audience that they’ve got information overload, which was quickly answered with ‘well, just unsubscribe then!).
I think the answer is not a simple one. In this information age, each and every one of us can subscribe to whatever content feed we choose. Technology also makes producing content very simple. The onus is therefore on the content producer (be they a company, media organisation, or an individual) to be interesting, relevant and exciting. And for B2B marketers, to understand that its a marathon, not a race, and that you’ll need to put in the time and effort if you want to gain some of your audience’s valuable time/attention.
I think the trick of it is to move past any perceived or actual antipathy between Enterprise and Media and to try and find some beneficial common ground. Enterprise WILL continue to produce and create its own (hopefully interesting and relevant) content on ever-growing channels. Media WILL want this content, but WILL want to charge to allow access to their inevitably broader reach (and improving levels of ‘guaranteed’ engagement and targeting).
The panel concluded that many are in flight from information overload, and will gravitate and filter down to the most trusted channels: friends/colleagues/experts. The challenge for B2B marketers is to position your product/service within this trusted environment to remain a relevant source of information.